The Labour of Love or the Love of Labour?

We’ve all heard that one of the keys to success and happiness is to follow your passion. The idea here is that if you do something that you love to do as a means to make a living, your enthusiasm will inevitably rub off on others. They will then begin to see what you do through your eyes. They will see the value. They will see the excitement. They will see the passion. Most importantly, they will want to own a piece of that excitement and passion. As a result, they will purchase the product or service that you offer. The end result is that you make money doing what you love.

There is, however, a counterpoint to the above argument. This dissenting viewpoint says that following your passion is pointless and meaningless, at least when it comes to turning a profit. Instead of doing what you love, you need to go and find out what needs to be done and do that thing, regardless of your personal feelings about the task at hand.

If the world has a problem, your job as an entrepreneur is to solve that problem. How you feel about the problem or the solution is immaterial. Your viewpoint doesn’t enter the picture. What counts is what the market place wants. They develop the need. You fill the need. Your reward is profit, plain and simple. Personal fulfilment doesn’t enter the picture.

There is a problem with both of these viewpoints. Both are right, to an extent, but neither fully captures the essence of what entrepreneurialism is all about. For example, let’s take a look at following your passion. When you follow your passion, you certainly are excited and enthusiastic about what you do. You probably look forward to getting to work each day. The problem is that, in most cases, your passion is not shared by the majority of the people who are your potential customers. You are fulfilling yourself, but you are not fulfilling them. Therefore, you are not going succeed.

The same holds true for the dissenting viewpoint. You most certainly do need to find a solution to your potential customer’s problems if you want to turn a profit. However, if the thought of providing that solution makes you unhappy, you will never be able to take the steps necessary to developing the solution at all. Again, you are not going to succeed.

The solution lies in balancing these two points of view. Do what you love, but make sure that what you are doing is solving your customer’s problems. Solve your customer’s problems, but make sure that in doing so you find fulfilment.

Keep it Real,

Mark Lyford.

The Labour of Love or the Love of Labour?

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